Al Franken for Senate 2014
U. S. Senate, Minnesota in MN http://www.alfranken.com
2610 University Avenue W., Suite LL
Saint Paul, MN
Primary Election Date: 2014-08-12 General Election Date: 2014-11-04
Who am I?
I'm Al Franken, and I've had the honor of serving the people of Minnesota in the U.S. Senate since 2009. My family moved to Minnesota when I was four, and I was raised in St. Louis Park. I met my wife Franni while I was in college, and we've been married for more than thirty-eight years. We have two wonderful kids, with two wonderful spouses, and a grandson who we've already managed to spoil despite just having turned one. You might know after I left college I went on to work in the entertainment industry, wrote a few books, hosted a progressive radio show, campaigned for progressive candidates in Minnesota and around the country, and visited our troops abroad through the USO. In 2007, I decided to run for the Senate seat once held by my friend and hero, Paul Wellstone. The campaign was long and hard-fought, the recount was careful and lengthy, and the margin was close. Now in the Senate, I've been proud to fight for the people of Minnesota, and I've had some successes along the way. I authored one of the biggest cost-saving measures in the Affordable Care Act – one that’s already saved consumers and small businesses billions of dollars by forcing insurance companies to spend at least eighty percent of premium dollars on actual health care, not marketing or CEO salaries. I helped write the energy section of the new Farm Bill, which invests in Minnesota’s renewable energy potential and will help to create jobs and end our dependence on foreign oil. I also took on the Wall Street credit rating agencies, demanding they end the dangerous conflicts of interest that helped to destroy our economy. I’ve also fought hard for middle class families by taking on corporate giants to protect consumers’ pocketbooks and their privacy, fighting against increases in the student loan rates, looking for ways to lower the cost of Medicare prescription drugs, and protecting Social Security benefits.
Why am I running?
Growing up middle class in St. Louis Park at the height of the middle class in America, I felt like I was the luckiest kid in the world. I ran for the Senate in 2008 because I wanted to help make sure every kid had the same chances I had. We've made some progress, but we've still got a long way to go. Too many middle class families are still feeling under siege, and too many families struggling to climb the ladder into the middle class find their way blocked. Paul Wellstone used to say, "We all do better when we all do better," and that's the philosophy I try to bring to my work in the Senate. It's why I've been fighting for a higher minimum wage, so people who work forty hours a week don't have to live in poverty. It's why I've been proud to fight to make sure women get equal pay for equal work. And it's why I’m fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare and to make college more affordable so kids can get a quality education that doesn't come with a mountain of debt.
I’m passionate about education, and I want to keep working to reform No Child Left Behind and actually make it work for children in Minnesota and around the country. This is one of the most important issues I‘ve worked on in the Senate, and I’m incredibly frustrated with the lack of progress. I also want to continue the fight to make college more affordable. Minnesota has the fourth highest average college debt in the country, and I’m going to keep working to make it easier for students and their families to afford higher education. I’m pushing legislation that will make it easier for students and their families to understand financial aid packages and calculate the actual cost of college, to make textbooks more affordable, and to make it easier for young people to reduce the cost of higher education by earning college credit in high school. I’m also proud to be one of the lead sponsors of legislation to help college graduates refinance their student loan debt at lower interest rates.
I will also keep working to fill the skills gap by encouraging partnerships between employers and our community and technical colleges to build programs that give workers the skills they need to fill more than 3.5 million jobs available today. Employers want to fill these jobs, but they can’t because there aren’t enough skilled workers, which is unacceptable when so many people are still looking for work.
I’m also committed to passing legislation to update our privacy laws to keep up with modern technology. I particularly want to work to crack down on so-called “stalking apps” that use a person’s smartphone to track their every move without their knowledge or consent. I want to give people more control over who has access to their location data, which is incredibly sensitive and personal information, and to prevent domestic abusers and stalkers from using that data to control and terrorize their victims.
On top of all that, I’m going to keep working to protect Social Security and Medicare, reform our tax code that’s currently tilted too far in favor of powerful special interests, combat the threat of global climate change and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, preserve net neutrality, which I’ve long said is the First Amendment issue of our time, and fight to restore our middle class and give every kid the same chance at the American Dream I had growing up.
My DFA Values
My campaign will embody the values of community, security, and liberty because those are values I take to the Senate with me every day. I will always fight to protect Social Security and Medicare and work to help ensure every American can retire with dignity. I want every child to have a world-class education and to be able to graduate from college without a mountain of debt. I want our nation to be safe and secure, and I take my national security responsibilities seriously. But I also want America to prosper and re-build our middle class. That requires us to fight for jobs here at home, support home-grown energy, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It requires us to support domestic manufacturing and end wasteful tax subsidies for companies that ship American jobs overseas. It also requires us tackle our long-term debt crisis, both by making smart cuts and responsible revenue increase, and by making the investments we need so we can grow our economy. I have been a champion for Americans’ right to privacy. I’m fighting to make the NSA more transparent, and I’m working to ensure Americans are protected from big companies who would invade their privacy for profit. I have also fought for pay equity for women and equality under the law for members of the LGBT community and will continue to do so. I’ve also been a champion for net neutrality and preserving the free and open internet, and I’ll continue to fight proposals that will allow corporate giants to put their thumb on the scale, stifling innovation and hurting consumers in the process. And as a member of three labor unions, I will continue to protect Americans’ right to organize and collectively bargain in the workplace.
My Campaign is People Powered!
My campaign relies heavily on small donors for its funding. I have received 355,660 contributions to date and 97% of my contributions are less than $100. I’ve also started to build a grassroots operation here in Minnesota that relies on an army of volunteers across the state making calls, knocking on doors and building support one voter at a time. We’ve already hired dozens of organizers as part of a robust field operation to build this grassroots operation and are deploying them to offices around the state even now. Last year we held dozens of house parties a year to go from Election Day and have already held phone banks around the state. I talk about a grassroots campaign in my fundraising emails a lot and tell donors that’s that they’re funding, and I mean it. I won my last election by just 312 votes and, while I know our campaign is going to have to spend a tremendous amount of money on television ads, radio ads, internet communication and direct mail, I know close elections are won door by door, phone call by phone call and conversation by conversation.